A new photography exhibit at Rochester Institute of Technology will explore the many sides of the U.S. presidency, through the lens of photojournalist and RIT alumnus Bernie Boston.
The free exhibit, titled “Everyday with the President: Bernie Boston Photographs, 1967-1992,” is open Nov. 3–11 in the William Harris Gallery, RIT campus. An opening reception for the exhibit is from 4:30 to 6:30 p.m. Nov. 3, with a special faculty panel discussing campaign commercials and campaign rhetoric beginning at 5 p.m.
For the exhibit, photographs of five U.S. presidents—Lyndon B. Johnson, Jimmy Carter, Ronald Reagan, George H. W. Bush and Bill Clinton—were drawn from the Bernie Boston Collection in RIT Archive Collections. In 2005, Boston and his wife, Peggy, donated an extensive archive of prints and negatives covering his entire career to RIT.
The late Boston graduated from RIT’s Department of Photographic Technology in 1955. As a photographer for major newspapers and as White House news photographer, Boston enjoyed extraordinary access to the presidents. He photographed the routine to the highly politicized, as well as time with family and personal moments.
“A primary aim of his work was to distill and portray the intimate character of each president, not the well-honed persona specially designed for media consumption,” writes Therese Mulligan, professor and chair of RIT’s School of Photographic Arts and Sciences, in a catalog for a 2006 exhibit.
Boston is best remembered for his iconic photograph of a young protestor placing a carnation in the rifle barrel of a soldier at a 1967 anti-war march on the Pentagon. The image garnered second place for the Pulitzer Prize in news photography.
Panel members for the Nov. 3 discussion on campaigns include: Sarah Burns, assistant professor of political science; Grant Cos, director of graduate programs and associate professor in the School of Communication; Michael Brown, visiting assistant professor of history; Kelly Martin, assistant professor in the School of Communication; and Sean Sutton, associate professor of political science.
The William Harris Gallery is located on the third floor of Gannett Hall. For more information, contact RIT Archive Collections at 585-475-2557. The exhibition and event are made possible by the School of Photographic Arts and Sciences and The Wallace Center.